We’re at 8 in our countdown to publication of Lichtenbergianism: procrastination as a creative strategy, and today we look at Precept #2: WASTE BOOKS.
Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, our patron saint of procrastination, saw how the English merchants of his day would scribble down transactions of all kinds as they occurred into ledgers, and then transfer those transactions to their tidy account books later. He appropriated the idea (STEAL FROM THE BEST) and called his notebooks Sudelbücher: waste books.
Into these WASTE BOOKS Lichtenberg poured all his random thoughts: “aphorisms, scientific jottings and sketches, linguistic experiments, phrases that have struck the writer and appealed to him, quotations from books and magazines, notes for future work, dates to be remembered, titles of books to be purchased...” [from The Waste Books, translated by R. J. Hollingdale, whose children have generously allowed me to use his translation]
As Lichtenberg put it, “I have jotted down a host of little thoughts and sketches, but they are awaiting not so much a final revision as a few more glimpses of the sun that will make them blossom.” Write it all down, sort it out later.
Am I telling you to buy a little notebook and to keep it with you every hour of every day? Yes, yes I am.
For more details, buy Lichtenbergianism: procrastination as a creative strategy from Amazon on Fri, Nov 17.